Kate, an account manager at a UK firm, has been stuck in a dead end emotionally abusive relationship with Tom for a while now. The combination of his isolating her from her friends, and the genuine fear Kate harbors that he might try to kill her if she leaves, keep Kate there. Until she begins to shift her attention to her boss, Greg. Attractive, funny, and concerned for Kate, he seems to be the whole package (well, if you ignore his wife).
When Kate finally dumps Tom and makes it out with her life, she begins a romance with Greg as best she can. Will this relationship be the real one for Kate? Is she finally done searching?
Now bookworms, as you may remember I was one of the stops on a blog tour for this book. As other book bloggers and reviewers may know, it’s bad form to post a negative review on a blog tour since the purpose of the tour is to promote the book. Thus, I opted to post author content during my stop rather than disparage the book and possibly make things difficult for the organizer of the book tour. But because I did in fact read this whole book, I feel that with the time put between the blog tour and now I would like to publish my true thoughts on the book. So here goes.
What is Kalopsia about?
This book is about Kate, a twenty-nine-year-old account manager in the UK. What we know about Kate from the get go is that she hates the man she’s engaged to, Tom, and she drinks too much as a coping mechanism (she even acknowledges this fact within the first few chapters). As the novel progresses, Kate reveals that Tom has been emotionally abusive for some time and she is waiting for the moment she feels safe enough to leave him. Additionally, she has the beginnings of a crush on her boss, Greg.
This book is very clear cut as a romance novel, focusing on Kate’s choices romantically as Tom and Greg cycle through her life. Not much else happens outside of romantic plots. Kate’s work doesn’t get discussed at length, and her friendships are rather two dimensional. She has no character development, either, despite the milestones in her life that she reaches (turning 30, leaving her abusive fiancé, getting her dream job).
There’s definitely the presence of “I’m not like the other girls” tropes in Kate. She goes on miniature monologues about the behavior of other women on occasion and gripes about things she wishes would make her life easier as a way of humble bragging to herself.
Plot: There is….none
Now, as a reader of bodice ripper romance novels and the like, I know that a romance novel is always concerned with the romance in question. But there’s also usually a semblance of other plot, even a far fetched one is better than nothing. Kalopsia doesn’t have an underlying plot. The whole novel is about Kate and Tom, then Kate and Greg. Events that happen outside of the relationships are rushed through and not even slightly focused on.
Kate eventually gets out of an abusive relationship, and with her life. That’s all I’ve got.
The depiction of Kate’s abusive relationship was relatively insightful, and seemed to be informed of the real fears and concerns that women have when stuck in a relationship that isolates and traps. That said, the way Kate’s inner monologue described the relationship was tedious, and while it seemed as though that would be the biggest conflict of the novel it was not. I think I would’ve been able to put up with the second half of this novel a bit better if there had been the lingering threat or need to resolve things with Tom, but as soon as he was gone he was gone. It was superbly easy for Kate to end things and right her life, which was incredibly frustrating having just suffered through half a book of Kate’s annoying ranting and griping about how trapped she was.
Where to start? First and foremost, reading from Kate’s perspective is ridiculously frustrating. Her inner monologue is all over the place, leaving out important details until the last moment and blending intrusive thoughts with play by play information about how her day is going. She’ll be describing her morning detail in extreme detail one moment, switch to another thought, and then pick up the mundane day to day activities once more. This ends up blending flashback thoughts and current events with no rhyme or reason, and certainly no clarity as to when Katie is reflecting on the past or the present.
Kate’s relationships all around are also pretty terrible. She never mentions family, and though she points out that Tom isolated her from her friends, when she does spend time with them she seems like a pretty awful friend as it is. Her coworkers seem to like her because she brings them tea, but she has no professional relationships to speak of. She’s very self absorbed, judgmental, and uncaring altogether. This also emerges with her relationship with Greg, where red flag after red flag is explained away and she waffles between self-pity and self-congratulation.
The descriptions of things were terrible, too. Altogether, the whole novel was bland at best, annoying at worst. Kate spends her whole relationship with Tom drinking too much to cope with his abuse, and then has a brief period of time before getting with Greg where she reconnects with friends only to not ask them any questions about how their lives are going, taking up the time of one friend to discuss how awesome her impending relationship with Greg will be. And then, when she starts seeing Greg, she sees the signs that things won’t last and ignores them repeatedly while also having breakdowns over each and every little thing.
I think it’s fair to say this was not a great book. Not a good book, either. It’s far from the worst book out there, but there were little to no redeeming features of it to justify the time I spent reading it. Kate as a character is annoying, underdeveloped, and difficult to care about. Reading from her first person perspective, which is little more than rambling details that hyper focus on the strangest things, was awful. In addition to the poor plot and character writing, the annoying romance with Greg, and the lack of the story going anywhere the book was poorly edited. Grammar was technically correct, but the writing was inconsistent. At times the characters spoke without contractions, and then used them again, creating disjointed speaking patterns that were unnatural to read. The interspersed “flashbacks” that included both present and past tense narration were confusing and added nothing to the plot. There was no separation between Kate’s musings and inner monologue, and her narration of the present. If this were a first novel, I might understand some of the mistakes in it a bit better but after checking I discovered this was Lamont’s second novel. Additionally, having read a review of another of Lamont’s books I don’t think these mistakes are one-off or due to a poorly edited review copy. I wouldn’t recommend reading this book, and I wouldn’t recommend reading this author unless you see a review that notes a marked improvement in the quality of writing.